Winning chip shop was family’s saviour
A chip shop which saved a family in Dudley has been named the top in the area – for the third year running.
The Blue Submarine in Middlepark Way completed a hat-trick after it claimed top prize in the Express & Star's Chip Shop of the Year for the borough.
Chippies were rated by the number of tokens handed in by readers, while there was also a mystery shopper element which saw the takeaway taste tested.
Owner Antonio Andreas, said it had been in the family for 37 years – and was a "saviour" for his family.
He said: "My parents owned the shop for 12 years and I've owned it for 25 years and although I've done other things in-between owning the shop, I've always kept and loved the shop because it saved the family when we moved there in 1982.
"They initially rented the shop and later bought the freehold. It was like a saviour of the family and 37 years later I'm still there.
"When this shop came up my parents had gone bust."
The owner, who lived in Birmingham before moving to Dudley, said: "I love the fact that I know people's children and their children – some of them have got grandchildren and it's a lovely thing to be part of the community.
"We've won it the last two years and I thought someone else would win it this year because there's some really good shops out there.
"When I received the call I was quite pleased.
"It's quite rare for any shop to win it three years in a row."
The 51-year-old, who now lives in Stourbridge, said staff "try really hard" to provide a good experience to customers.
He added: "I think we try really hard to get it right and I always believed I would never serve something I would never eat myself.
"It's about serving them and being really on it.
"It's more than a chippy to me. It's something that I want people to leave with freshly cooked good quality food.
"It's about the food service and about how quickly we serve it.
"Our staff are very quick and on the ball. I want people to walk in and even if there's 20 people they get served in six, seven minutes.
"I drum it into people that the customer pays your wages and the customer is the king."
"We've always been known for our large cod. No one does it like us – it loses money sometimes, but I still do it.
"People come in for the large cod – I know a lady who comes from Wombourne for it.
"Our battered chips are properly battered as well – not dyed.
"It's very high quality. People have been coming in for years and we know them by name.
"It's a nice thing to be involved in the community."
Nicki's Fish Bar, on Woodbury Road in Halesowen, finished runner-up – with the owners determined to claim the title next year.
Owners Nicki Andreou, who runs the shop with husband Pani Andreou, said: "It was down to the staff and the loyal customers.
"Hard work pays off and hopefully next year we'll come first.
"If it wasn't for the customers and staff we would not be here where we are now.
"Plus selling fresh fish pays off.
"Not many fish shops sell fresh anymore because of the cost and I would much rather keep the customer happy than my own pocket."
The 44-year-old has a total of 30 years in the industry – following in her parents' footsteps, who used to own a chip shop in the area.
She said: "We used to own one in Halesowen and I always wanted my own chip shop one day – and now it's paid off.
"It was nice to come first, but to come second is such an achievement in the Dudley area.
"We're going to carry on with what we're doing and hopefully we'll get it."
Pensnett Fish Bar, on High Street in Pensnett, finished third.